Population and Land Resources

19 May 2005

Prof Young writes about my letter on the need for population control in Africa:

“After 45 years research into developing countries, centred not upon population but on land resources, I came to the same conclusion. I have published this recently in Geographical Journal (March 2005). It is summarized on my web site, www.land-resources.com select “Poverty…”, and there is a press release on www.rgs.org select Press Room.”

Here is his note to The Times:

18 November 2002

Grim spectre of famine

Birth control is vital
AFRICAN countries will never be able to survive the recurrent bad years of drought, flood, or other natural disasters — unless greater efforts are made to check population increase. A study by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation 25 years ago forecast those countries which would be at high risk of being unable to support their populations in 2000. The list bears striking resemblance to countries with current famine emergency measures.

Better governance, land reform and agricultural improvement are of course needed, but any such advances are inevitably nullified by pressure of population. As said by the world’s scientific academies, meeting in 1993: “Family planning could bring more benefits to more people at less cost than any other single technology now available to the human race.”

Professor Anthony Young (retired),
University of East Anglia

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